Luxurious brands made sure that European fashion represents elegance in the eyes of the Chinese consumers. So that more and more Chinese are buying clothes from European brands. Considering the high-end image of most brands and the price of the goods they sell, Chinese consider it will give them face to wear European brands’ clothes.
Strong financial results in China
Italy has long been recognized for its knowledge in the fashion field. And numerous Italian brands selling fashion are being prosperous in China for many years.
The most emblematic of them all, Prada registered an 826 million euros sales turnover in 2013. That is to say an increase of 15% compared to 2012 sales. The luxurious brand Salvatore Ferragamo also saw an increase of 20% in its last year’s sales.
Excellent Communication strategy
Most of these Italian fashion brands achieved their success thanks to an online marketing strategy designed for China. Indeed the Internet Word of Mouth works really well in China so a brand can directly control its image and e-reputation. Being present on Chinese social networks platforms is essential because it can really make the difference between the success and the failure of a brand in China. The Italian brands therefore created their own community of fans and interacted with them on the main social networks such as Weibo and Wechat.
Prada’s Weibo microblog recently reached more than 200 000 followers. In March 2013 following the 85th Annual Academy Awards Prada enjoyed a post-Oscar buzz and was on the top discussions on Weibo.
So that popular Italian brands like to use social networks platforms in China to communicate and to advertise towards Chinese customers. Prada for example used a series of videos in 2010 to advertise its new collection and posted it on Youku, the equivalent of YouTube in China. Bottega Veneta followed the idea in 2012 and chose to do its New Year’s campaign on Douban, an online platform to discuss about cultural events in China.
Being present on Chinese social networks also allows Italian brands to use Key Opinion Leaders to influence other communities of fans. Their role is really important because Chinese shoppers are much more influenced by opinion leaders than Westerners.
Good retail choice
The way a brand sells its product in China is also really important. It could whether be in physical shops or on online shops. Physical shops are the option mostly chosen by established luxurious brands. Online shops are a good choice to avoid unnecessary costs when launching a brand on the Chinese market. That is what understood Yoox really well. The Italian brand chose to launch its own online store in 2011 to test how the Chinese market would react to its luxury goods.
This was a huge success since Yoox became a hit in the flourishing Chinese middle class. Their website is matching the tastes of Chinese online shoppers: a lot of precise information on the product, nice photos and videos and a short paying process. In July, Yoox even launched a new payment solution via Wechat to broaden its market to the social networks.
Chinese companies are buying Italian fashion brands
Italian fashion brands are such a huge success in China that they are considered an excellent return on investment by Chinese buyers. Indeed the luxury fashion brand Cerruti was bought by the Hong-Kong based company Li & Fung Group for $70 million in 2010.
In 2012 Miss Sixty, another famous Italian fashion brand was bought by the Guangzhou based group Trendy International.
Italian fashion brands were already known for the quality of their products in China, at least for the luxurious brands. They also managed to build themselves a good brand image and e-reputation on Chinese social platforms. Thanks to a communication strategy adapted to China and a smart retail choice, they increased their sales a lot while other European brands are struggling to stay on the Chinese market.
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